Fertility treatment – What are the options?
Many people struggle to become pregnant and some will need fertility treatment to achieve their dream. If a heterosexual couple has failed to become pregnant after one year of attempting, they should get a medical examination to determine the cause of their fertility problems and whether they need fertility treatment.
Likewise, homosexual couples and single women need fertility treatment to become pregnant.
In this blog post, we explain some of the most common types of fertility treatment performed at the fertility clinics.
Intrauterine insemination with donor sperm (IUI-D)
Intrauterine insemination with donor sperm, also known as IUI-D, is a treatment which is offered to three groups of people. Those are singles, lesbian couples, and heterosexual couples where the man’s sperm quality is not good enough to be used for insemination.
With this type of fertility treatment, the doctor at the clinic inserts prepared (purified) sperm directly into the uterus when the woman is ovulating. Prior to the treatment, the woman or couple have chosen a preferred sperm donor to use for their treatment. In some countries, however, the clinic must choose the donor. This sometimes drives people to go to another country to receive fertility treatment (called ‘fertility tourism‘) to be able to get the donor they desire.
If the treatment is performed with the male partner’s sperm, the treatment is called IUI-H (intrauterine insemination with homologous semen).
In vitro fertilization (IVF)
In vitro fertilization is a type of fertility treatment suited for women with damaged fallopian tubes, for couples who are infertile with no immediate explanation, and for couples where the man has reduced sperm quality. Lastly, women who have tried insemination (e.g. IUI) without becoming pregnant can try IVF as the next step in the process.
In vitro fertilization treatment is carried out in a laboratory, where the woman’s egg is manually fertilized with the sperm in a petri dish. Once an embryo is formed, it is placed in the uterus using a catheter and hopefully, the woman becomes successfully pregnant.
To learn more about fertility treatment with IVF, you can watch this animated Ted Talk video which gives you a good basic understanding of how the treatment works:
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, also called ICSI, is an option for couples where the man has a very low sperm count. This treatment is also suitable for couples who have previously failed to become pregnant using IVF without any obvious reasons.
Like IVF, ICSI is performed in a laboratory by an embryologist who inserts one single sperm into an egg with a small needle and afterwards places the formed embryo in the uterus with a catheter. The difference between IVF and ICSI is how the egg is fertilized. In IVF treatments, the sperm will fertilize the egg the “natural” way, whereas, in ICSI, the sperm is inserted into the egg with a needle. Other than that, the two methods are quite similar.
The right fertility treatment for you?
Hopefully, you have now become familiarized with the different fertility treatments that exist. No matter which treatment you wish to get, we advise you to consult your doctor or clinic and let them help you decide which treatment is best for you.
Join Family Dreams on Facebook
In our Facebook group Family Dreams, you can connect with others who, for various reasons, are going through fertility treatment with the help of donor sperm. Use the group to ask questions, answer the other members’ questions, share your story or just get inspiration or support through reading the many group posts. Join the group here.